White Ash, one of the more common and rapidly growing trees of forests and fields in all of Ohio, is also a popular shade tree for urban areas. From the forest, its wood is harvested to make baseball bats, toolhandles, furniture, and for use as firewood. Among the ashes, its wood is considered the best.
As a shade tree, it is known for its rapid growth and dependable fall color. One of the first trees to change color in autumn, its leaves often go through shades of yellow, orange, red, and purple. Its stems are thicker than those of Green Ash and Blue Ash, giving it a more bold texture in winter.
A native of eastern North America, White Ash is found mostly in cut-over forests, open fields, and fencerows. Under ideal conditions in the open, it grows to 70 feet tall by 50 feet wide, with a medium to rapid growth rate. Its shape is upright oval when young, becoming upright spreading to rounded with maturity. As a member of the Olive Family, White Ash is related to the Fringe Trees, Forsythias, Privets, and Lilacs, as well as other species of Ash.
Planting Requirements - Rich, moist, well-drained soils of acidic to neutral pH are ideal for growing White Ash. It is not quite as stress-tolerant as Green Ash or Blue Ash, especially to prolonged drought, occasional flooding, or very alkaline (high pH) soils. It grows in full sun to partial sun, and is found in zones 4 to 9.
Potential Problems - Among the common ash trees, White Ash is the most likely to encounter a problem during its lifetime, although most trees live a long and healthy life. Borers and scales are occasional pests, leaf anthracnose is a frequent cosmetic disease of the leaves when wet springs occur, and trunk canker is an occasional disease of the bark and cambium. In addition, seed litter (from female trees), surface roots (with age in compacted or shallow soils), and storm damage (at maturity due to splittable wood and narrow crotch angles) are potential liabilities, primarily in urban areas.
Emerald Ash Borer(Agrilus planipennis), is a destructive exotic pest from Asia. This metallic wood-boring beetle attacks all of Ohio's native ash species, and has no known significant natural enemies in this country. EAB has been discovered infesting ash trees in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The first Ohio discovery was in Lucas County in February of 2003